United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DENYING PETITIONER GILBERT LEE MEDINA'S
MOTION TO VACATE, SET ASIDE, OR CORRECT SENTENCE PURSUANT TO
28 U.S.C. § 2255 (ECF NO. 218) AND DENYING A CERTIFICATE
March 25, 2019, Petitioner Gilbert Lee Medina filed a Motion
to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255.
seeks to vacate his March 31, 2016 convictions following a
seven-day jury trial. He claims that he received ineffective
assistance of counsel on appeal. He argues that on appeal his
counsel should have challenged the District Court's
compliance with the procedures set forth in 21 U.S.C. §
did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel.
Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2255 (ECF No. 218) is
Certificate of Appealability is DENIED.
And Petitioner's Guilty Plea
30, 2013, a criminal complaint was filed against Petitioner.
(ECF No. 1).
November 18, 2013, Petitioner was arrested. (ECF No. 2).
November 19, 2013, an amended criminal complaint was filed.
(ECF No. 5).
November 19, 2013, the Federal Public Defender's Office
was appointed as Petitioner's counsel. (ECF No. 6).
November 22, 2013, the Federal Public Defender's Office
filed a Motion to Withdraw as Counsel. (ECF No. 10).
November 26, 2013, the grand jury returned a two-count
Indictment against Petitioner. (ECF No. 13).
Indictment charged Petitioner as follows:
Count 1: Conspiracy to knowingly and
intentionally distribute and possess with intent to
distribute five hundred (500) grams or more of a mixture and
substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine,
its salts, isomers, and salts of its isomers in violation of
21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), and 846; and
Count 2: Possession of a firearm after
having been convicted of a felony in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2).
(Indictment, ECF No. 13-1).
November 27, 2013, the Motion to Withdraw as Counsel filed by
the Federal Public Defender's Office was granted. (ECF
same date, Attorney Andrew Park was appointed as
Petitioner's new counsel. (ECF No. 18).
December 2, 2013, Petitioner pled not guilty. (ECF No. 21).
12, 2014, Petitioner changed his plea and pled guilty to
Counts 1 and 2 of the Indictment. (ECF No. 30).
19, 2014, the Court accepted Petitioner's guilty plea.
(ECF No. 36).
Andrew Park's Withdrawal As Counsel And Appointment Of
Attorney Stuart N. Fujioka
August 19, 2014, Petitioner filed a Motion to Withdraw His
Guilty Plea. (ECF No. 37).
same date, Attorney Park filed a Motion to Withdraw as
Counsel. (ECF No. 38).
September 2, 2014, Attorney Andrew Park's Motion to
Withdraw as Counsel was granted. (ECF No. 43).
September 3, 2014, Attorney Stuart Fujioka was appointed as
Petitioner's new counsel. (ECF No. 45).
Withdrawal Of Guilty Plea
September 3, 2014, the Government filed a Memorandum in
Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Withdraw His Guilty
Plea. (ECF No. 44).
September 25, 2014, the Court held a hearing. At the hearing,
Attorney Fujioka orally moved to withdraw Petitioner's
guilty plea based on the written Motion To Withdraw filed by
Attorney Park. (ECF No. 48). The Court allowed Petitioner to
have additional time to file a written Memorandum, with the
assistance of Attorney Fujioka, in support of his request to
withdraw his guilty plea. (Id.)
October 27, 2014, Petitioner filed a Memorandum in Support of
His Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea. (ECF No. 53). In the
Memorandum, Petitioner explained that he believed his
confession was coerced and wanted his counsel to file a
motion to suppress. (Id.) Petitioner believed there
was newly available evidence that supported his position and
wanted to withdraw his guilty plea based on such evidence.
December 2, 2014, the Government filed a Supplemental
Response to Petitioner's Motion to Withdraw His Guilty
Plea. (ECF No. 57).
December 8, 2014, the Court held a hearing on
Petitioner's Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea. (ECF No.
hearing, the Government represented that Petitioner would
face sentencing enhancement based on his two prior felony
drug convictions pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851. The
Government stated that it was in the process of receiving
certified conviction records from the State of California
regarding Petitioner's two prior felony drug convictions.
The Government stated that it had not yet filed for
sentencing enhancement because Petitioner had pleaded guilty
before it received the records. The Government explained
that, if Petitioner withdrew his guilty plea, it would file a
Special Information Pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851. The
Government explained that the Special Information would
increase Petitioner's mandatory minimum sentence to a
mandatory life sentence should he be found guilty at trial.
(Transcript of December 8, 2014 Hearing at p. 16, ECF No.
213). The Government stated:
And it is certainly my intention to file these 851
enhancements if and when this court allows him to withdraw
his guilty plea because he has a substantial criminal record,
there are - have a number of witnesses that said he had
contacts repeatedly with a drug organization that had
substantial amounts of drugs coming into Hawaii, and so his
criminal history and his contacts with these drug
organizations alone would enable me in my discretion to file
those. And so we do intend to file them. We would have filed
them had we got them before he entered his plea agreement,
(Id. at pp. 16).
maintained that he wanted to withdraw his plea despite the
Government's representation that it intended to file a
Special Information to enhance his sentence pursuant to 21
U.S.C. § 851. (Id. at p. 17). The Court
The Court: Mr. Medina.
Petitioner: Yes, Your Honor.
The Court: Have you heard everything that's been said
The Court: You heard the last thing that Mr. Roberts said?
Petitioner: Yes, Your Honor.
The Court: And you want to withdraw your plea?
Petitioner: Please. Yes.
The Court: I am going to allow you to withdraw your plea.
I've done everything I can to get all of the information
The Court: And it is within the court's discretion.
Petitioner: Yes, ma'am.
The Court: I think you are of the belief that there is some
problem here that will assist you, and we've gone through
various factors and that's the conclusion that you have
Petitioner: Yes, Your Honor.
The Court: And I believe that people, if they truly want to
face a trial and they think that is in their best interest,
then - especially when they're facing a very long
sentence, then it is appropriate for a judge to allow that
person to go forward, even if it is not evident that it is in
their best interest.
Petitioner: Yes, Your Honor. I understand.
(Id. at pp. 17-18).
Government reiterated that it would seek a mandatory life
sentence in Petitioner's case if he withdrew his plea
based on his two prior felony drug convictions. The
Government stated, “...I want to just reassert our
intention not to just put - not to just file one 851 but to
file both of them so that he is facing a mandatory life
sentence.” (Id. at p. 19).
attorney agreed that the Government was able to file the
Special Information, but argued that the Government should
exercise its discretion and decline to the file the
sentencing enhancement. (Id. at pp. 19-20). The
Court found that the Government was permitted to file the
Special Information pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851.
Court granted Petitioner's Motion to Withdraw His Guilty
Plea. (ECF No. 59).
Filing Of A Special Information Pursuant To 21 U.S.C. §
December 17, 2014, the Government filed a SPECIAL INFORMATION
AS TO PRIOR DRUG CONVICTION PURSUANT TO 21 U.S.C. § 851.
(ECF No. 60).
Special Information stated that the Defendant was subject to
an increased mandatory minimum sentence because of his prior
felony drug convictions pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §§
841(b), 851, as follows:
1. On or about February 5, 1991, Defendant Gilbert Lee Medina
was convicted in the Superior Court of California, County of
Riverside, in Case No. ICR-13812 of ...